As we Albertan’s look forward to ‘proper’ Spring instead of ‘false Spring’, we look forward to embracing the warm weather to write outside and enjoy nature. It is not a pretty sight, with brown grass and slush but it will get better. Although, COVID still has us under restrictions, there are ways to enjoy the outdoors. We can drive to a lake or forest, even explore the Rocky Mountains. If you are like me and my friend, Linda, take the back roads and discover untouched parts of the province. Get away from the noise of the city or town, immerse yourself in the stillness and quiet. Here is where your writing Muse flourishes. It is a time when a new project or idea may come forth.
Indulge in people watching, notice how your mind and body react to the change of season. Learn to use emotional, social, and climatic insights and feelings to the benefit of your craft. It gives us an idea how weather can effect a character’s situation or show the passing of time.
How do the different seasons affect your writing?
In other news my ghost writing gig will start late April/early May so it gives me more time to complete the first book in my detective trilogy. I worked with my designer on the covers for the trilogy so that they are consistent and will ‘link’ together when all three books are laid down beside each other. It is always difficult not to share the cover of a new book, there is excitement and eagerness to show them off. I will have to curb that and keep them secret until launch days, apart from the normal teasers, of course.
When you are working on your book covers, how do you ensure your vision comes to life?
I have been very lucky to have access to several talented artists for my book covers through my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and my publisher, Dream Write Publishing.
I have been taking advantage of our local Writer in Residence at my library with Zoom open mic meetings and special presentations. This is a great way to have an unbiased view of your current work, not only through the readings and subsequent feedback but also because you can send a sample of the manuscript to them for review. Each year the WIR’s are from different backgrounds and literary genre’s, but no matter what your genre (or theirs) this tool is well worth taking advantage of this free service then maybe you should.
What are you currently working on?
I have a presentation on blogging this Saturday. An Easter writing retreat to look forward to. And a ghost writing project lined up for late April/early May.
I was honoured to be part of this virtual writing conference this past weekend. It was certainly jammed packed with panelists from all avenues of the writing community, and I made some great connections and learned a lot. I was also a panelist, which was such a fun thing to do. My first panel was on Friday with Mandy Michelle, Sarah Graham, and Melinda Curtis. We were discussing the romance genre and how it has transformed in line with societal changes since it’s conception, but also the expectation of the genre readers for the story format. Then on Saturday, I partnered with my publisher, Dream Write Publishing’s owner, Linda Pedley to discuss the business of getting a novel published and the extra writing required. This includes an author bio and professional photo, a blurb, a summary, a synopsis etc. etc. These ‘extra’s’ are not always considered by authors and the information proved to be useful.
As you may know, I have made a goal for 2021 to enter contests, submit articles to magazines and stories to anthologies. This seemed an easy process until I began to look at all the paperwork accumulating. For each submission there is of course, rules, guidelines, email address and accounts to create. On top of that, I have author interviews for this blog to monitor as well as a novel writing workshop with four other authors. Not to mention my freelance writing projects and my current work in progress.
So how should I organize it all?
Each ‘task’ has its own specific process, so I needed to come up with a way to keep track. Firstly, I printed out the relevant contest, magazine and anthology links and highlighted the deadlines for each one. Noted passwords required and any dates submissions were sent.
Now to catalogue them in separate folders. (And yes I use actual physical folders! I’m a hands on type of girl)
Green folder: Anthologies
Purple folder: Contests
Orange folder: Magazines
White Folder: WordPress Interviews
Orange folder : Presentations I will host
White folder: Novel Workshop
Black folder (not shown) Freelance Projects
Then I separated the relevant information for each in date order with the submission dates – first to last. I printed a calendar for the blog interviews so I can mark each one down, so there is no duplication. I have also bought a large desk calendar to mark submission deadlines, writing events, presentation dates, freelance projects, conferences, interviews etc. Having everything there in front of me lessens the panic that I have forgotten something.
“The Gift of Mentoring” came to fruition largely due to a number of my supporters encouraging me to write a book on Mentoring. They felt as did I that there were books written on the academic perspective of mentoring but not a lot that had been written on the practical application of mentoring concepts. It was they who created the inspiration.
How did you come up with the title?
I have always felt that to give and receive mentoring is truly a gift. It is a gift that can create a life changing experience and an impact on families, communities and organizations and their people. I am a believer in “The Gift of Mentoring”.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I have always said that even if only person attended a presentation that I was doing or one person read my book that there would be something that they would take away. It would be one more person that heard the story and become a believer in the “Gift of Mentoring”. I want to share this message globally and I want people to understand the true power that mentoring can provide.
How much of the book is realistic?
All of it. The book is based on my person experiences as a mentor and is a true reflection of mentoring from a practical application.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The case studies that I have included in the book are actual mentoring situations. They are not fictitious.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
I have created an outline of what the next book will look like. It will be a sequel to “The Gift of Mentoring”. I have grown as a mentor over the last 5 years and I want to be able to share my experiences in order to provide mentoring thought leadership to others.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I want to focus my writings on mentoring. There is a need for books that speak to the practical application of mentoring and that is where I see myself as an author.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
My stories are based on actual mentoring sessions so I would say that I am a seat of the pants style writer. The direction the book goes is driven primarily by my experiences.
What is your best marketing tip?
I try to make reference to the book title in a lot of what I write and do. I leverage social media to increase my exposure. I never did a formal launch of my book and didn’t do any books signing events. I have given the book away as a gift for the most part and have found that by giving it has always come full circle for the most part.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
I would say that it is 80% a great tool and 20% a hindrance. To use social media effectively requires more work and the rewards don’t always occur as quickly as perhaps I would like.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
The impact that it can have on others. I also find that it provides me with a sense of peace. There are times that I feel pressured to get something out but for the most part taking an idea and shaping it into an article or a book is an exhilarating experience.
What genre are you currently reading?
I tend to favour leadership books. There are not many books on the practical application of mentoring so I see that as a gap. I am currently reading a book on marketing and will then move to a book on High Performance Habits which I can link back to the mentoring process. One of my favourite books is “Gung Ho” by Ken Blanchard.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
I use to read for pleasure only but find that I am now striking a balance between the two. I research a lot of material on mentoring and then use that to write blog articles, etc.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
I have been truly blessed throughout my career with supporters/mentors/encouragers. My Wife, Debra is by far my biggest supporter and a mentor to some extent. I have two or three others that I would call my mentor and encouragers. Some of them are half my age which raises eyebrows when I introduce them to colleagues. Everyone thinks your mentor should be older than you and that is the furthest from the truth.
Where is your favorite writing space?
Typically I have everything spread out on the dining room table until we have people over for dinner. I quickly gather all my material up and place it safely away only to return it to the table the next day.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
Yes. Canadian Authors Association Community
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Interesting question as we have been talking about that recently. I think I would like to live in Portugal.
Do you see writing as a career?
Not at this time. I want to continue to grow my mentoring practice and continue to grow as a thought leader. Perhaps after all of that or in conjunction with that growth add writing to the mix.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
I take time to reflect and be thankful for what I have done and give thanks for what I am about to receive.
Doug Lawrence is the founder of TalentC®.
Doug shows organizations how mentoring will encourage workforce culture to flow in harmony (mentors), improve productivity from employees (mentees), reducing costly employee onboarding improving the bottom line (organizations).
Doug is an International Certified Mentor Practitioner (ICMP), an International Certified Mentor Facilitator (ICMF), and has obtained his Certificate of Achievement – Mentoring and his Certificate of Competence – Mentor from the International Mentoring Community (IMC).
Doug is an international speaker and author about all facets of Mentoring. He published “The Gift of Mentoring” in 2014 with his second book set to publish in 2019.
Doug works with organizations to establish mentoring programs, influence mentoring as a culture, and provides one-on-one direct mentoring for individuals of all backgrounds and levels globally.
My main event for this week is on Saturday, which is my writing group’s 8th annual conference. It is always a incredible day of words, writers, writing, networking and meeting new authors.
This year to celebrate Canada’s 150 – we have made the theme Canada – no surprise there! The sessions will be all things Canadian and a fun interactive workshop will be the first session to set the mood. It is a full day (separate sessions can be booked if preferred) testing your writing skills, learning and embracing the written word.
I am presenting one of three short workshops in the first hour but my main presentation is later in the day. My workshop will be creating a Canadian character. I have worked hard to make the session interesting, informative but also fun! Wish me luck.
In Picton, ON, and the surrounding area, the Prince Edward County Writers Festival takes place April 20–22, featuring Steve Burrows, Joy Fielding, Wallace Edwards, Merilyn Simonds, Zoe Whittall, and others.